THE VEGAS PÉREZ CASE - IMPUNITY IN THE TIME OF RAFAEL CALDERA (Four Crimes Four Powers - author: Fermín Mármol León — Semanario Punto, March 19, 1973)

Published at: 20/03/2024 09:00 PM

  • On February 22, 1973, a group of “rich children” from the Caracas upper bourgeoisie kidnapped Carlos Vicente Vegas Pérez, 13 years old, the youngest son of the architect Martín Vegas Pacheco and Trina Pérez Machado de Vegas.
  • These qualified members of select social circles were dedicated to the consumption and distribution of drugs at retail, bearing some of the great surnames of the Masters of the Valley, namely: Herrera, de las Casas, Branger, Zuloaga Pocaterra, Rízquez Cupello, Capecci, Paredes and Parilli Pietri. This last nephew of the First Lady of the Republic, Alicia Pietri de Caldera.
  • To finance one crime, they committed another, even more abominable one. They had to settle a debt, immediately repaid, with Colombian “dealers” and asked the distressed parents for the figure of Bs.100,000 (U$D 23,255,814).
  • The boy Carlos Vicente was sedated, tied up, bandaged his mouth and put him in the suitcase of a car to take him to a hiding place. On the way, he died suffocated by inhalation of carbon monoxide. Before he died, he was beaten and his skull was fractured.
  • Later, the young murderers threw the body into a ravine on the Coche—Tejerías highway, where it appeared on March 1 of that year.
  • The scandal, for months, grabbed the headlines in the national press. However, the justice system treated them with a hand of silk, and after a few weeks all the suspects involved in the crime were on the street, except for the one who could not afford the very expensive fees of a criminal lawyer.
  • An older brother of the victim was indirectly involved in the kidnapping. However, all those accused as intellectual and material authors, cover-ups and accomplices, who were initially arrested, had their arrest warrants revoked and, for the most part, they left the country.
  • Pressure from powerful political-economic groups, and the participation of expensive law firms, caused the case to become mired in legal twists and technicalities.
  • As if nothing had happened, the murderers continued to engage in the consumption and microtrafficking of narcotic and psychotropic substances, to meet the demand of the upper echelons with new and expensive inhalations, which were scarce at the time in circulation (cocaine hydrochloride).
  • In the end, the Vegas Case turned into another “crab”. Another well-investigated but unsolved police case, due to great pressure from the prevailing powers that be (the church, the political, the economic and the military).
  • The criminologist and lawyer, Fermín Mármol León, a prominent commissioner of the PTJ, was the one who carried out the investigations of the Vegas Case. Every time he was shelved, he retired from the technical police force and wrote, on the basis of real events, the best book of police literature made in Venezuela: “Four Crimes, Four Powers”.
  • In it, he narrates, varying the names of the characters, the impunity that existed in the Vegas Case, and in three other resounding murders committed in the previous decade:
    • The cover-up, carried out by the high Catholic hierarchy in the case of the murder of Lesbia Biaggi (October 15, 1961), who was stabbed at 2 am in the morning in her room in Ciudad Bolívar. Allegedly murdered by her brother, priest Luis Ramón Biaggi. The case was never clarified, although everything indicated that a neighbor with a criminal record could be the real murderer.
    • The cover-up carried out by the parliamentary faction of AD, obstructing investigations in the case of the murder of Hilda Hernández de Rangel (December 6, 1965), committed by her husband, the deputy for AD, Manuel Antonio Rangel, in El Cafetal.
    • The cover-up and obstruction of justice by the military establishment in the murder of Morelia Paradisi de Rivero (July 30, 1965), shot to death by her spouse Cap. Roberto Rivero Pérez, in the elevator of the Riverside Building, on Avenida Rio de Janeiro.
    • On these four cases, Román Chalbaud, based on the book mentioned above, brought two high-audience film productions to movie screens: Crab 1 and Crab 2. Denouncing, before millions of spectators, what was revealed and denounced by its author, Fermín Mármol León.
    • He also wrote: Murder in Block 76 (1982), Four Faces of Crime (1991), Confidency of a Cabinet (1994) and The Fireflies Dance (2008).
    • Four Crimes, Four Powers was published in 1979 and sold more than 700,000 copies in 23 editions.

Mazo News Team